Reducing Anxiety in the Exam Room

Published On: January 17th, 20192.6 min readCategories: Study tips

5 steps for reducing exam anxiety

Some students feel very anxious during an exam or test. To some, this may sound as though it’s a cop-out for someone who has not put much effort in when studying but it is a genuine issue with which many struggle. There are easy and Innovative ways of reducing exam anxiety when you want to recall the pieces of information you have studied.

1. Give the first minutes of the exam paper wisely

Some examiners give you five to ten minutes to read through the question paper before you answer the questions. If the examiner does not allow for this reading, take the first five minutes after the start of the paper to do so. Make use of this time to scan through the exam or test paper to establish which questions you can answer with relative ease and plan to answer these first. You are highly likely to be a little more confident and calm going forward, knowing that you have answered the questions of sections with which you are comfortable.

2. Plan well so that you can finish all the questions

Understand the marking scheme of the test or exam and divide your time evenly among the available marks; that is, spend 10% of your time on 10% of the marks. For example, if your paper is three hours long and the total mark allocation is out of 100 and you have a 10-mark question, allocate 18 minutes of your time to that question. While you don’t have to stay strictly to this limit, it is useful to know how many minutes you should spend on each question to avoid running out of time. This guideline helps to keep you to pace yourself concerning the overall paper. So if you are running over your planned time, you need to work faster or better still, you will know when you can afford to spend a little more time on the more difficult questions.

3. Track your time and then use what’s left wisely

Keep track of your time so that you can answer all questions. After all, it is better to give a 75% accurate answer to all questions asked in the exam than to provide perfect answers on only 50% of the exam.

4. Take a short mental break

Another handy tip is to take a mini-break at specific points during the exam. Research has proven this practice to be useful. During this time, you close your eyes, relax, put your pen down, give your hands a shake and do some deep breathing exercises. Even one minute of doing this can help alleviate your anxiety. Don’t worry about what the person next to you thinks.

5. Focus on the questions and then revise

At all times, try to focus on the process of answering the question rather than on the result. If you finish before the examination time runs out, use this time to go over all your answers and make sure that you have covered all the areas for each question.

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